Orders and Medals on Soviet Postage Stamps By Mahdi Bseiso
Hero City Stamps

Out of Russia's 6000+ stamps, several hundred are dedicated to national heroes, historic battles, Armed Forces anniversaries, and military awards.

Most serious collectors focus on one particular hobby and one particular area of interest. Some people collect stamps, others collect coins, a few collect military awards, and the list goes on. Moreover, a stamp collector may focus on stamps with flowers on them, a coin collector may collect all coins related to World War II, and similarly a phalerist may be interested in Soviet orders and medals. I chose to take two paths and connect them somewhere in the middle - I collect Russian stamps, as well as Soviet military awards.
Most philatelists think of Russia as the country that issued the most number of stamps in any era, starting with its first issue in 1857. Not only that, but collectors also tend to find Russian stamps quite attractive and informative. Soviet stamps particularly cover a wide range of topics, probably any topic you can possibly imagine - just name it! Similarly, Soviet awards are favorites among today's phalerists. This is because of many reasons including the fact that they are fairly easy to obtain, that are very attractive, and most importantly, can be researched if they have a serial number, thus taking the hobby to a whole new level.
I went through all my Soviet stamps and took out the ones picturing orders and medals and was able to divide them into six groups: I. Heroes of USSR, II. Awards Given to Institutions, III. Birth or Death Anniversaries of Veterans, IV. Victory Anniversaries, V. Establishment of a New Award, and VI. Miscellaneous.
I. Heroes of USSR:
This group was by Hero of USSR Commemorationfar the largest of all. Since 12,745 individuals were awarded the title "Hero of the Soviet Union," they were often remembered on Soviet stamps. The stamps honored high-ranking Hero of USSR Commemorationofficers, as well as young soldiers. A few stamps even honored "Hero-Cities," like in the three stamps pictured to the upper left.These three stamps are a part of a seven-stamp set from 1965, honoring Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Odessa, Sevastopol, Volgograd (best known by its former name "Stalingrad"), and Brest. "Hero-City" is an award title parallel to the "Hero of the Soviet Union," but awarded to cities. Cities were awarded this title for bravery of their people defending the cities. Leningrad for example, was awarded the title after its people struggled for (continued)

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